Inspiring Business by Sharing Success

Spring Budget can get economy back on track by ‘getting the basics right’ for businesses, says Chamber

Spring Budget can get economy back on track by ‘getting the basics right’ for businesses, says Chamber

East Midlands Chamber, which works with 12,000 businesses across Derbyshire, Leicestershire and Nottinghamshire every year, set out a list of measures to support firms ahead of the fiscal statement on 15 March.


It cited research from its Quarterly Economic Survey showing that, over the past year, business confidence had been steadily declining amid a cost-of-doing-business crisis in which costs have risen, cashflow has tightened, investment intentions have declined and the labour market has gridlocked.

East Midlands Chamber chief executive Scott Knowles said: “For any business to be successful, Government must address the day-to-day barriers that exist and provide the certainty that has been absent for much of the past few years.

“By ensuring the basic building blocks of economic success are in place across people, taxation, regulation and connectivity, businesses will be given the best chance to succeed.

“But we also must go further by supporting ambition, which means rewarding those companies that want to invest – whether it’s in plant and machinery, skills or innovation.

“We have had three years of once-in-a-generation challenges that has really tested our region’s firms, and yet the vast majority are still here to tell the tale.

“This demonstrates their tremendous resilience and now it’s time to give them the tools to help our country achieve what has eluded us for too long – and begin a period of meaningful, long-term economic growth.

“To do this, it’s vital the Government starts by getting the basics right and then goes further by backing ambition.”

Getting the basics right for businesses

The Chamber sets out its building blocks for success in its latest economic strategy, titled A Centre of Trading Excellence: A Business Manifesto for Growth in the East Midlands and Beyond, which was launched during a reception at Westminster in November attended by regional MPs and businesses.

Suggested economic measures within the “Getting the Basics Right” blueprint include:

  • People: Supporting businesses to invest in staff training, creating apprenticeships and work placements for young people, and putting businesses at the heart of local skills accountability
  • Taxation and regulation: Alongside a commitment to no new taxation for SMEs for the remainder of this Parliament, a long-term vision is needed for business taxation in all forms – including a full root-and-branch review of the broken business rates system
  • Connectivity: Backing digital connectivity, by speeding up the rollout of 5G and full-fibre broadband as well as enhancing funding for businesses to invest in digital technologies, and physical connectivity via regional road and rail improvement schemes.

Backing ambition via the ‘four Is’

As part of an ambitious economic plan, the Chamber has also suggested the Government should prioritise the “four Is” – investment, innovation, infrastructure and international trade.

Suggested policies include:

  • Investment: Provide longer-term financial incentives and tax allowances to firms so they have the confidence to invest in their people, plant and machinery
  • Innovation: Develop a new R&D tax credits system that broadens the definition of what qualifies as research and development, as well as place an explicit emphasis on innovation for any new investment zones
  • Infrastructure: Speed up plans for major projects such as the HS2 Eastern Leg and Midland Main Line electrification to bring forward the economic regeneration and growth benefits these will offer
  • International trade: Build on the promise of a revised Northern Ireland protocol to cut red tape and reduces barriers to trade with the EU, while also offering enhanced financial support for businesses looking to enter new overseas markets.

To read East Midlands Chamber’s Business Manifesto for Growth, visit

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